Written by Jan Greenhawk, Editor of Radio Free Oxford
This is a slight revision and a republishing of a blog I wrote a year ago.
Arthur Miller’s story of betrayal and false accusations mirrors today’s events.
As a high school teacher, I had my students read Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE. It’s an amazing play about the Salem Witch Trials.
I confess. I dreaded teaching it the first time I taught it. For some reason, I found it dry and boring when I was initially exposed to it in high school. I guess my 16 year old self couldn’t see the significance of something that happened back in the 1600’s. I also felt the same way about most of Shakespeare’s works. As an English major in college, I consciously avoided his works. What the heck was wrong with me?
When I began teaching high school towards the last quarter of my thirty year career, I had to deal with both. And I suddenly discovered the importance and significance of these works. Maturity and life experience as well as the times gave me a quick head slap. My eyes suddenly opened!
Currently, our situation in the world seems to closely relate to many pieces of literature, but in a conversation this morning THE CRUCIBLE came back to me via a comment from a friend.
If you don’t know or haven’t read the play, do so. If you hate reading, find the 1996 movie starring Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder. It’s a very good version. To summarize, it is about the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and how young girls were able to lie and cause the death of multiple residents by accusing those residents of being witches. At the time, being accused of being a witch guaranteed a death sentence and there was almost no defense a person could use to deny the charge. When Arthur Miller wrote the play in 1953, he was in the middle of McCarthyism and the “Red Scare” that led to many people being accused of being Communists, fairly or not.
When I would teach the play, my students were often baffled about why anyone would listen to these teenaged girls who were clearly making the whole thing up. They also didn’t understand why anyone would turn on the neighbors they had known and been friends with for years. My students have no first hand knowledge of how or why that would happen. “Why didn’t the adults step in? How could they believe something so crazy?” they asked.
And of course they hated the antagonist, Abigail, because she caused it all to become John Proctor’s wife. She was trying to get Proctor’s wife out of the way.
They also didn’t understand that the adults judging the alleged witches had other motives, namely money, power, vengeance. They didn’t have enough experience to know that many times these are the motives for corruption and evil.
Those motives were the wheels within wheels, the fires within fires in the village. That quote was uttered by a character named Mrs. Putnam, someone who tried to warn people that witchcraft should not be the authorities’ go to explanation for odd things happening in the village. (* Note that in the Bible, Ezekiel 10:10, an object in the sky is described as having “a wheel within a wheel.” This quote has been used by the Ancient Aliens crowd as proof of UFO’s even back then.)
We could definitely use that phrase today. Someone should call Q immediately!
In fact, we could probably rewrite THE CRUCIBLE today if we wanted to. I can use many different national and local officials in the major roles. The teenaged girls are the Marxists, making up lies to get attention and power. The judges are the government agencies, FBI, CIA, IRS, DOJ etc. charging people with crimes based on little or no evidence and ruining their lives. And let’s not forget the CDC, FDA, and WHO. Abigail is played by several women in the national spotlight, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, and Nancy Pelosi. They are women who will do whatever they have to in order to get what they want. (Although if you ask me, Pelosi would find herself accused of witchcraft eventually. And it would be a legit accusation.)
If you wonder where Joe Biden is in this, well, there are no parts for the incapacitated in the play. Besides, he would screw up his lines.
One other character, Tituba, the slave who was the first accused, why she would be played by every minority who thinks the Marxist Democrats are on their side. As Tituba discovered, minorities are just tools in their plan to ruin this country.
The innocent victims, the preyed upon and falsely accused, why they would be played by the 75 + million citizens who voted for Trump, the unvaccinated who dared question the government’s heinous push to a harmful vaccine, and the parents who dare go against Marxist, power hungry school boards. And, in the role of John Proctor, the hero of the play, those who have lost their jobs and livelihoods over their principles.
It’s just another story of unjust accusation and persecution. And like THE CRUCIBLE, the cost will be in human terms as people lose everything they have or as they die. And there will be nothing done until after the destruction is over and people finally wake up to the horrible scam the Marxists and the Biden regime has perpetrated.
And just because you may think that the party many of us have supported for years, the Republicans, are any better, think again. Like the judges in the Crucible, Republicans have given into their lust for power and money. In some ways, it’s the worse betrayal. They know what they are doing is wrong but are doing it anyway!
The saddest part of all is that many of us are living through THE CRUCIBLE in our cities and towns. Our neighbors, our friends, even our family, have not only turned their backs on us, but they are also joining in the accusations. I have friends who tell me they can no longer see their children and grandchildren because of political beliefs or vaccine status. Many of us ask who among our neighbors would stand up for us if we were attacked, cancelled, and/or “relocated.” It’s not a comforting realization when we realize it might be no one.
There is a silver lining, something that the victims in THE CRUCIBLE didn’t have. Many of us, including me, have found new friends, new family. We have discovered people out there who are like us, almost soul mates, in our desire for freedom and the core principles of this country. These new friends would stand up with us in times of trouble, and we with them.
I’ve met people I would never have met before, and we have become good friends. We’re from many different walks of life, but we have been brought together either through fate or divine intervention. That’s how it is in times of national stress.
Many of us have also rediscovered our faith.
At the end of THE CRUCIBLE, John Proctor is given the opportunity to admit his “guilt” and avoid being hanged. They give him a confession to sign and he signs it and then tears it up. He would confess but not sign a confession. Without the signed confession, they will still hang him. The judges and elders, shocked, ask him why he tears it up. His response:
” Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
Proctor, for pride, for his own integrity, will not sign a false confession merely to save his life. He doesn’t want to dishonor the others who died because they stood on principle.
Yeah, this applies in a symbolic way to today. We won’t give up our principles, our freedoms, our “names.” Ever.
They are too important. We cannot live without the basic values of this country. We cannot have another country like this in our lives or in the lives of our children.
Jan can be reached at radiofreeoxford.com
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